Dayton Disneyana is one of our favourite annual events. It has something for each of us to enjoy . . . Carol loves to browse through the collectibles offered for sale, then spend time trading Disney pins. I enjoy the seminars; there are always entertaining and knowledgeable Disney speakers with plenty of Disney ‘insider information’ to share!
This year the speakers were all folks we had previously met, Disney artists Mike and Patty Peraza, Bill Farmer – the voice of Goofy and Pluto and Disney Historian Jim Hill who acts as Emcee during the dinners and seminars. They are all terrific speakers!
It’s a 652 mile drive from our home in Canada to Dayton Ohio but, as always, we were anxious to head to Dayton for our sixth visit in six years!
We decided to spread the drive to Dayton over two days, then when the event was over make a mad dash home!
We said goodbye to the dogs at about 10:30 a.m. and made our way to the 1000 Islands Bridge, about 25 miles east of our home. Once across the US border we followed I-81 south to Syracuse New York and then turned onto I-90 westbound, across the southern shore of Lake Ontario, through Buffalo New York and finally across the south shore of Lake Erie to Erie Pennsylvania where we stopped for the night.
I grew up in a small village, Port Dover, on the north shore of Lake Erie. Most summers during my childhood we would venture across the 50-mile wide lake and enjoy a weekend docked at the Presque Isle Yacht Club in Erie, PA. As we drove toward Erie I told Carol a few tales about those family boating trips all those years ago. When we arrived and got settled in our hotel room Carol said, “Why don’t we go down by the yacht club where you used to tie-up and have dinner somewhere nearby?” That was a plan I couldn’t resist, so off we went!
Holy Cow! I didn’t recognize a thing!
There was a huge observation tower at the end of the State Dock . . . it was built in the mid 1990’s.
The area immediately west of the State Dock used to be home to a small fleet of commercial fishing tugs and a replica of the USS Niagara, which was the flagship of Oliver Hazard Perry, commander of the American fleet on Lake Erie during the War of 1812.
Yikes – all of that stuff was gone . . . replaced by a Sheraton Hotel and a huge Convention Center. The yacht club is still there, but it’s hard to spot, tucked away in a far-off corner behind the convention center.
Carol smirked and asked, “You say that it’s all changed; when was the last time you were here?”
I thought back . . . hmm . . . my father passed away in 1991 . . . they sold the boat a few years before that . . . “It was probably between 1983 and 1985.” I told her.
Things can sure change in 35 years!
We had a nice dinner at Smuggler’s Wharf, a pretty little restaurant beside the State Dock then headed back toward the hotel. After a bit of shopping and some TV we crashed for the night.
Friday, June 9, 2018
The following morning we were back on the road by 8:30 a.m. and continued west on I-90 toward Cleveland where we skirted the city and followed I-271 and I-71 southwest to Columbus, then I-70 to Dayton.
The weekend event is at a new venue this year, the Hope Hotel and the adjoining Richard C. Holbrooke Conference Center, located just inside the main gate at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The Hope Hotel is named to honour Bob Hope who supported American military forces around the world!
There were some familiar signs to greet us as we pulled into the hotel.
Once we were registered and settled in our room we went exploring!
Event Coordinator Anita Schaengold and her group of hard-working volunteers were busily getting ready for a wide variety of activities and an all-time record number of vendors were converting that big empty auditorium pictured below into a shopping wonderland for Disney fans!
We had a quick bite of lunch at Packy’s, the hotel’s in-house restaurant and sports bar. It’s named for Bob Hope; in his boxing days he was known as ‘Packy’.
After lunch we strolled through the Vendor’s room and renewed acquaintances with some of the folks we’ve gotten to know over the years.
The vendor tables were sold out months ago, but the hall still had plenty of empty tables in the middle of the afternoon.
Some vendors had arrived early and were already well organized; many had not arrived yet.
It’s hard to describe the variety of merchandise available each year in Dayton. There are movies, movie posters, movie props, comic books, coloring books, catalogs, figurines, statues, jewellery, toys, puzzles, clothing, original art, framed prints, Disney pins, Vinylmations and so much more!
Carol was very excited, she couldn’t wait to get shopping the next day!
“Wow!” Carol cried as she walked down one of the aisles, “Look at this!”
She was holding the issue of Life Magazine from October 15 1971 featuring an article on the opening of Walt Disney World.
That magazine has been on her ‘Wants List’ for years. She bought it on the spot and said, “This just made my entire weekend!”
See the picture below? That’s a very happy Disney fan!
Carol paid $10.00 for the magazine . . . it was a bargain. There are copies of that same issue for sale on E-Bay for as much as $70.00 and it’s trending at $25.00 That’s typical at Dayton Disneyana . . . things are priced fairly, there are no rip-offs.
Even the event is reasonably priced, $10 for a 1-day pass, $15 for a 2-day pass and kids under 18 are free!
Out in the lobby a display was set up for Pirate Packs, the charity that benefits from all of Dayton Disneyana’s fundraising activities.
Last year the weekend event in Dayton raised almost $3,000 for Pirate Packs.
This year they are hoping to contribute more, and there were several big blue drums set up so we could donate non-perishable food products.
Pirate Packs picks up where traditional school food programs leave off. Most schools offer meals for needy children, but plenty of underprivileged kids go hungry on the weekend.
That’s where Pirate Packs comes in . . . they send kids home Friday night with a backpack filled with enough food to last them until Monday morning.
Over the weekend there were a number of fundraising activities, all for the benefit of Pirate Packs and the kids they help.
The first of the fundraisers was a quarter auction that took place Friday night. Neither Carol nor I knew what a quarter auction was, but we took along plenty of quarters just to be ready.
Event Coordinator Anita Schaengold, pictured above, is directing us to the light dinner donated for the occasion by her personal trainer.
After we had all enjoyed cheese and crackers, salad, veggies and dips, chips and cookies we were ready for the auction!
The auction process was quite simple. In order to bid you had to buy at least one paddle for $1.00. Carol picked up a paddle for each of us, but some people had a whole handful of paddles in order to increase their chances.
The auctioneer held up the item being auctioned and, if you wanted to bid on that item you put a quarter in a plastic cup at the end of your aisle . . . one quarter for each paddle you intended to hold up for the bid.
As soon as the quarters had been collected the auctioneer began drawing paddle numbers at random. If you had paid a quarter for that paddle you won the item. If you hadn’t paid, you called out “No Bid’ and another number was drawn.
It was an interesting process and a fun-filled evening.
When the auction was over most of the crowd stayed for a gift exchange. Everyone stood in a circle holding the gift they brought along, then Anita said, “Pass the gifts three people to the right.” Then we passed two more to the right, one to the left, five to the right, etc., etc. After about a half-dozen passes we were instructed to open the gifts we were holding. Carol’s gift bag contained a number of small Disney toys and figures. Most of them were characters from The Lion King. My bag contained two Mickey Mouse ball caps and each cap was decorated with five Disney pins. My ball caps immediately disappeared into Carol’s bag and I haven’t seen them since!
It was almost 10:00 p.m. when Carol and I headed off to Packy’s for a late (and light) bite of dinner. Ooops! The kitchen had closed by the time we arrived. It all worked out, we weren’t really hungry after the snack we enjoyed at the auction, so I ordered a cold beer and visited with a few friends in the sports bar.
Carol scurried back to the room, picked up her pin trading bag and headed off to the trading room.
It wasn’t long before I called it quits and headed back to the room. I was just about to crawl into bed at 11:00 p.m. when Carol came back; we were both tired after a busy day!
Saturday, June 10, 2018
I woke up at 6:15, rolled over and picked my tablet up from the night table. When I opened Facebook the first thing I saw was our friend Paul from Hamilton Ontario. The caption under the selfie he posted said, “Well just like me, being the first in line to register for the Disneyana convention in Dayton Ohio.”
There were fourteen Canadian Disney fans in Dayton, but none were quite as keen as Paul who was there for the first time.
The group package offered by the hotel included a voucher for free breakfast at Packy’s. It was a typical breakfast buffet, juices, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, muffins, porridge, yoghurt, etc. Oh yes, it also included a bottomless cup of coffee. That’s important to me in the morning!
As soon as breakfast was over Carol joined the ‘Early Bird’ line. Sure enough, there was Paul in ‘Pole Position’, ready to lead the charge.
It wasn’t long before we were all registered for the event and had our goody bags, filled with gifts from a few of the event sponsors.
Once everyone was registered the line moved from the main lobby to the hallway in front of the Vendors area.
I headed inside to get a few pictures before those rabid shoppers arrived.
The room had really filled up since the previous afternoon. There were gadgets and gizmos aplenty. There were whoosits and whatsits galore. Thingamabobs? About twenty . . .
There was even free Tim Horton’s coffee and donuts! The organizing committee sure went out of their way to make our group of Canadians feel right at home!
When they opened the doors at 8:30 Paul was nothing but a blur!
He had ‘scoped out’ the room the previous afternoon and he knew exactly what he was looking for. He was a man with a plan!
During the day I saw Paul again and again, carrying armloads of Disney collectibles back to his room. I hope he was able to fit it all in his van for the trip back to Hamilton!
Carol was about half-way back in the ‘Early Bird’ line and the first thirty or forty shoppers had spread out around the room by the time she came through the door.
She had a plan too . . . over the years Carol has gotten to know several of the vendors quite well, so in order to conserve time and cover the entire room in the 90 minutes of early bird shopping she picked out her merchandise and asked the vendors to put it aside and add up the bill which she would settle up later.
By the time she went back, an hour or two later her goodies were all bagged or boxed and ready to take back to the room.
As usual, most of Carol’s shopping was done by 10:00 a.m.
Just before 10:00 a.m. they began the raffle draws for prizes that each vendor donated for the early birds. For the first time Carol did not win an early bird draw!
Meanwhile, out in the hall the 10:00 a.m. crowd was registering and the shoppers were getting anxious!
When the doors opened at 10:00 it quickly got crowded in the auditorium, but not nearly as congested as it has been in previous years. The new venue is much larger and there is a lot more room between the rows of tables!
That’s our friend Gwenn from Montreal pictured above; she is part of our ‘Canadian Eh! Team’ and really enjoyed her first trip to Dayton!
Eric, a member of the Dayton Disneyana club, was really pleased with the Narnia figurine he picked up!
At 11:00 a.m. Jim Hill was scheduled to speak about Bob Hope and his connection to Walt Disney but his plans changed at the last minute. The Disney Corporation had announced the evening before that John Lassiter would no longer be associated with Disney in any way. Mr. Lassiter, Disney’s Chief Creative Officer and the head of Animation, took a six month leave last November after accusations surfaced as part of the “Me Too” movement.
Jim spent a few hours in the early morning putting together a totally new presentation. He told us of Lassiter’s early years, his success with Pixar Studios and, since 2006 and his role in the Disney Corporation. Although Jim put it together very quickly, it was an insightful and detailed look at the life of a very successful and highly creative man who gave us so much.
Carol took a break from the Pin Trading room and we enjoyed a quick lunch at Packy’s before she went back to trading and I headed to the 1:00 p.m. seminar.
This time we listened to Mike Peraza and Bill Farmer talk about two of the projects they worked together on, A Goofy Movie and Goof Troop. Mike is credited as Creator, Art Director, Concept Artist & Character Design for Goof Troop, and Bill has been the voice actor for all productions involving Goofy since 1986.
It quickly became obvious that the two men became good friends when they worked together. Mike used the overhead projector to show some pictures from their flight to Dayton. The two couples traveled together and in one picture Mike’s wife and fellow Disney Artist Patty can be seen sitting outside on the wing of the aircraft.
In the next picture she is clinging for dear life from the engine cowl on the wing. It was made even funnier when Goofy joined in with Mike to give us some of the color commentary!
Once the two entertainers managed to focus on their original topic Mike described how the story line developed and how the movie was animated. Bill chimed in with all sorts of comments using various voices and perspectives. Sometimes it was Goofy, sometimes Foghorn Leghorn, Yosemite Sam or Walter Brennan. Once we even heard from Pat Buttram (do you remember Mr. Haney from the Green Acres TV show?)
What a great session, I really enjoy listening to people who have worked so close to the heartbeat of Disney . . . and these are certainly two of them!
The final seminar of the day featured Disney Artist and Animator Patty Peraza. She told us the unusual story of how she became a Disney Artist. Her graphic design professor at University of Delaware asked her if she was interested in going to CalArts (The California Institute of Art, originally founded by Walt Disney). Patty replied, “That would be wonderful, but I could never afford CalArts.” The professor came back a few days later and asked, “If you had a full scholarship would you go to CalArts?” She accepted in a heartbeat and a few years later she became the first woman hired by Disney from the CalArts program. Years later she discovered that her scholarship was funded by Walt Disney’s wife Lillian.
Patty’s first project at Disney was Tron, she designed and animated those motorcycles! Over the years she has worked on an amazing variety of Disney movies and her description of day-to-day life in the Disney Studio as well as her ‘inside stories’ from the animation and effects group held us spellbound for more than an hour!
At 5:00 p.m. we all gathered for the first ever running of the ‘Goof-a-Thon’. It was described as a gruelling .02Â½ marathon. An anxious crowd gathered outside the hotel lobby, under the porte-cochÃ¨re, and listened to the rumbling sky. Dark clouds, ominous thunder and flashes of lightning threatened imminent rain!
Fortunately Obi-Wan Kenobi was there and he used The Force to hold the weather at bay until the race was completed!
Some Jedi Knights held the racers in formation until the official starter, Bill Farmer dropped the checkered flag, and the Goof-a-Thon was underway.
Eric, in his TIE Fighter was the official Pace Car for the event!
It was a hard fought race, once around the porte-cochÃ¨re, in the front door and 10 yards down the hall to the finish line.
Eric and the TIE Fighter won with an elapsed time of 1 minute 12.19 seconds!
Each participant received a fabulous gold medal . . . and the $15.00 entry fee that each racer paid went directly to Pirate Packs.
After the race most runners went to the lobby for a free training session with some Jedi Masters!
The dining room opened at 6:30 and we were ‘officially welcomed’ to Dayton by Gary and Anita Schaengold.
It was a Goofy Barbecue; fried chicken, BBQ ribs, mac & cheese and all the fixin’s. Boy Howdy it was good!
In true Disney form, there was even Dole Whip for dessert!
After dinner Jim Hill told us the story he had planned to talk about in the morning, Bob Hope’s connection to Walt Disney.
The time was back in the early 1950’s; Walt was building Disneyland and cash was running low. Very low! The banks had no more money to give, so Walt turned to some successful Hollywood icons. The first one he approached was Bob Hope who was reportedly worth about $800 Million at the time. Mr. Hope briefly considered the request and then said no. That’s right, he said NO to Walt Disney.
That’s a bit like the blunder Decca Records made in 1962 when they refused to sign The Beatles to a recording contract!
Well, Walt eventually got the extra millions he needed; the theme park was a huge success, and those who had backed him in his hour of need saw their fortunes grow at astonishing rates.
Whenever he was asked, Bob Hope was quick to agree that he had made a huge mistake!
Jim Hill was also emcee for the evening and he asked our three special guests to come up to the podium and share a funny story from their Disney career.
The stories they told were hilarious, we were in stitches!
But I’m not going to share those stories with you . . . if you want to hear this sort of thing you’ll just have to come to Dayton.
One suggestion though; If you are Goofy . . . do not hang Christmas lights near rose bushes! Gwarsh!
Then it was time for the live auction. There were some fabulous items available, everything from Disney themed furniture to sketches and prints drawn by Mike and Patty Peraza.
The first item up for auction was this hand-crafted bench seat upholstered in a black and white Mickey Mouse print. The first bidder called out, “I’ll bid $20.00 if Bill Farmer will sit on it.” and the crowd roared with laughter.
That sort of set the tone for the evening though! Bill/Goofy sat on some very unusual items that night, much to our delight!
One of the last items in the auction was the Mickey Mouse Lamp Post in the picture below. I make a lamp to donate for the auction each year.
Polly, the young lady standing beside the lamp, is from Cincinnati Ohio and she desperately wanted to take Mickey home with her. The bidding finally narrowed down to her family from Cincy and another family from Cleveland. Polly was bidding aggressively and then giving the Cleveland folks the evil-eye . . . daring them to outbid her!
Well, her evil-eye mojo seemed to work. The Mickey lamp raised $220 for Pirate Packs and is now happily settled in Cincinnati! As for the Cleveland family . . . they bought another lamp I had brought along to Dayton, so everyone went home happy.
Carol bought a Minnie Mouse sketch that Patty Peraza had donated and Patty was happy to personalize it for her!
I was high bidder on a signed print by Mike Peraza. In the picture I’m showing the back of the frame where Mike sketched Pluto and signed the sketch. Then he passed it around and Patty, Jim Hill and Bill Farmer also signed it.
When I hang this one I’m not sure which side should face the wall!
The auction was a lot of fun and also a financial success. It raised over $1,800.00 for Pirate Packs!
The dinner/auction festivities wrapped up about 10:30. I headed back to the room to relax while Carol dashed off for some pin trading. On my way back to our room I spotted a large group from the Chicago chapter of the Disneyana Fan Club, they were relaxing in a lounge just off the hotel lobby. I sat and chatted with them for a few minutes,
I had only been settled in that little lounge for a few minutes when Carol joined us. She had decided that she was too tired to play with her pin pals so we made an early night of it!
Sunday, June 11, 2018
Sunday morning the Vendor’s area didn’t open until 10:00 a.m. so we took advantage of the opportunity to sleep in until about 8:00 a.m.
After breakfast at Packy’s we headed into the vendor’s room to look around some more.
It seems that every time you walk down one of the aisles you spot something you missed the last eighteen times through.
And on Sunday the vendors always seem to be a bit more flexible with their pricing. Perhaps they’d rather sell it than pack it back up and take it home!
Carol spent the morning carousing the vendor’s room and the pin trading rooms while I enjoyed the seminars. We usually leave by noon on Sunday since we have such a long drive home, but this year we hung around, almost to the bitter end! I really wanted to hear Mike and Patty talk about their trip to Marceline Missouri where Walt Disney grew up.
The first speaker of the day was Jim Hill who told us the fascinating, and often hilarious story of how Who Framed Roger Rabbit was made. As the movie developed the animators grappled with some unique challenges.
How far could they go with Jessica Rabbit? How much cleavage was too much cleavage? Somehow they rose to the challenge and created a voluptuous Jessica while keeping the movie’s G rating!
Bill Farmer took over the stage at noon and told us about the life of a voice actor. He used video clips of himself and other voice actors in the recording studio to show us how the film’s director leads them through their lines to get the proper tone and inflection for each scene.
When you see the finished product it’s hard to imagine that all the dialogue is recorded with only one person in the room. Each voice artist works alone, with the director giving them cues, then the sound editors put it all together.
Bill had a lot of help explaining all of this to us; he was joined onstage by Goofy, John Wayne, Robin Williams, Dan Ackroyd and plenty of other celebrities!
The last seminar of the day began at 1:00 p.m. and it was the one I had been waiting for. Mike and Patty talking about Marceline. A trip to Marceline has been on my Bucket List for a few years and after hearing Mike and Patty’s story I’m even more determined to get there!
Before they talked about that trip to Missouri Patty talked a bit about her role as Production Manager on Beauty and The Beast back in 1989.
She explained that the creative people were having trouble developing the basic story line. The original Beauty and The Beast story, a French fairy tale published in 1740, had a very dark and gloomy plot. If the animators followed the original plot lines the feature would have some frightening scenes, like those in Snow White, that would really terrify young children. They were stalled . . . they knew they needed to take a new approach . . . but how?
They had a contest! The management team asked the creative people to go off and create a short animated clip that portrayed their ‘vision’ for the film. Patty and Mike got busy on their home computer and created a short they titled “Bubble Boogie”.
They played the clip for us . . . my memory may not be 100% accurate, but here’s what I recall.
It started with a dark screen, then the music started, â™ªâ™« Splish Splash, I Was Takin’ A Bath â™ªâ™« . . . the classic old 1950’s tune by Bobby Darin. Then the screen lightens and a dishwasher drawer comes into focus, with bubbles constantly rising in the foreground. Dinner plates are standing on end, in rows, facing the viewer, with knives and forks alongside. Slowly the plates rise from the rack then begin to spin and sway in time with the music. Then the knives and forks rise to join them, twirling and swaying . . . wait – was that a Do-Si-Do?
Patty paused the video at this point and said, “Remember, this was before Mrs. Pots had been imagined.”
When she started the film again two teapots danced and swayed their way to the foreground and then one dipped it’s spout as the other doffed it’s lid as if it was a hat.
WOW! Mike and Patty’s little clip won the contest back in 1989 and sent the Beauty and The Beast movie in a whole new direction. Suddenly it was a musical!
Let’s stop and think for just a minute . . . without Mike and Patty’s short animated clip there would be no Mrs. Potts, no Chip, no Lumiere, no Cogsworth. WOW! That short clip had an astounding impact!
What about Marceline? Well, it was worth the wait. Mike and Patty visited the home where Walt grew up, they visited downtown Marceline which, according to Disney lore, had a big influence on Main Street USA. They visited the Walt Disney Hometown Museum housed in the former Marceline Train Station. They planted a seed from Walt’s ‘Dreaming Tree’. Patty was the Grand Marshall in a parade down Main Street and was awarded a plaque containing a piece from Walt’s original ‘Dreaming Tree’.
Do I still want to go to Marceline? Oh Yeah!
After the seminar we said a few very quick goodbyes and hit the road. It was just after 2:00 p.m. when we began the 652 mile trip back home. It was a marathon drive, with only a few pit stops along the way. There were consistent rain showers and a few very heavy downpours during the first couple of hours but the weather cleared a bit before we passed through northern Pennsylvania. We had a very quick bite of dinner in Erie PA then continued to make good time on the road.
We passed through Canadian Customs at the 1000 Islands Bridge at 12:30 a.m. and came to a stop in our driveway at 1:00 a.m. Three tails were wagging vigorously when we walked in the house! Jak, Blue and Jake were very happy to see us!
In mere minutes we had emptied the car, tossed all of our stuff in a corner and fallen into bed, exhausted after a wonderfully tiring weekend!
What did Carol bring home?
and that wonderful 1971 issue of Life Magazine.
Yes, both Carol and I both survived another year at Dayton Disneyana . . . but just barely!
It was actually quite a difficult weekend for us; it was our first trip to Dayton without our son Rob. We lost Rob after a tragic accident last autumn and over the weekend in Dayton we found ourselves doing a lot of reflection. His annual trip to Dayton was always the highlight of Rob’s year so Carol and I shared some bittersweet memories during the event.
Rob had always been Carol’s ‘spotter’ – he understood her tastes and was always finding just the right items for her to add to her collection. Alas, that’s a talent I just don’t have.
We both agreed that Rob would have liked the new venue and the larger area for vendors.
Shortly after they got home Mike and Patty Peraza posted a sweet little ‘Thank You’ picture on the Dayton Disneyana Facebook page.
Carol and I would like to join with Mike and Patty and give sincere thanks to Anita Schaengold and all of the Dayton Disneyana members who helped her organize and deliver this wonderful event!
We have been there for six consecutive years and it just keeps getting better each year!
In 2019 Dayton Disneyana will be in the same place, the Hope Hotel and the Richard C. Holbrooke Conference Center at 10823 Chitlaw Road, Dayton Ohio.
Mark the dates on your calendar – June 8 – 9, 2019 – You will definitely want to be there!
Special Guests and speakers at the event will be:
Kaye is Director of the Walt Disney Hometown Museum in Marceline Missouri. She has served as a Board Member since the museum was founded and she lives in Walt’s childhood home.
Tom was hired by Walt Disney himself, to portray Tom Sawyer shortly after Disneyland opened in 1955. He soon outgrew that role, but remained with the Disney Corporation his entire working live. In the late 1960’s Tom and his family moved to Florida where he supervised the construction of the monorail. When Tom retired in 2003, after 48 years with Disney, he was responsible for all Distribution and Warehousing Services at Walt Disney World. Tom is a Disney Legend and has a window on Main Street dedicated in his honour.
Alex is a gifted artist who joined the Disney Corporation in 1993. You will find his art, sketches, prints and sculptures as well as pins he designs, in shops throughout the Disney Parks. Alex also refers to himself as ‘the world’s biggest fan of Walt Disney’ and you will understand exactly what he means as he describes the many trips he has taken over the years as he follows Walt’s life story. Alex has truly ‘walked in Walt’s footsteps’ and he loves sharing stories from his journey.
Carol and I hope to see you in Dayton in 2019!